Friday, December 16, 2011

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

The past few years I didnt really get to enjoy the holidays in the traditional sense. I lived in Hawaii, I was away from family and of course we never got that chilly weather which to me is a big part of Christmas. Not saying I don't miss the 70 degrees and sunshine all year long but I was really excited to spend this Christmas the way I used to growing up. I forgot was how hectic this time of year can be (especially while working on my masters degree). Yikes! With all the holidays gatherings at home, school, or with friends I share with you a recipe that is surely to please!
Crab stuffed Mushroom, elegant yet simple and of course delicious! Who doesn't love the succulent flavor of crab? This recipe combines smooth cream cheese and Parmesan (use fresh grated!) and is stuffed into a juicy little mushroom for a bite size piece of crab heaven!

Make these ahead of time and then pop them in the oven when ready to serve!


Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

20-25 small white mushrooms
1 cup crab meat
½ cup cream cheese
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
½ green onions, chopped
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon of cayenne (can be omitted)
5 tablespoons shredded Parmesan Cheese
½ cup Panko bread crumbs
Cooking Spray
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375° F
2. Pop out the stems of mushrooms and then spoon out the gills and base of the stem to make deep bowls. Set mushroom caps on lined baking sheet
3. Combine crabmeat, cream cheese, parsley, green onions, cheese, and garlic powder. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Stuff mushroom caps with crabmeat mixture. Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of each mushroom. Spray tops with non-stick cooking spray (to help them brown)
5. Bake in oven for 20 minutes

Monday, November 21, 2011

Easy Lemon Pie

In a rush to find something to bring for your next holiday gathering? I hate cliches but when it comes to "easy as pie" it doesn't get any easier than this. Another one of my grandma's recipes this lemon pie is easy and delicious- a win-win in my book. With just a few simple ingredient and a pre-baked pie crust you can have this pie ready to go in under 30 minutes (my personal best is 21). This pie has the right combination of sweet and tart. When life gives you lemons.... Make lemon pie!

The filling should look like this after boil and cooling

Easy Lemon Pie

Makes one 9-inch pie

Prebake a deep -dish 9-inch pie crust according to directions on package (or make your own crust!).

1 large box of lemon pudding mix
2/3 cup of sugar
¼ cup water

Mix together in a saucepan until smooth then add

3 Beaten eggs yolks
2 cups of water

Bring to a boil while stirring (Mixture should become thick). Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Then stir in

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon zest

Mix together and pour filling into baked pie crust. Let cool completely, cover and refrigerate. Serve chilled with whipped cream.

Rum Cake

Photo Credit: Pioneer Woman Home and Garden
The Holidays are upon us!

Starbucks is officially serving drinks in their Christmas cups which means its finally here: The Holidays! Growing up the holiday season was always a huge deal. My mom and dad would decorate the entire house with lights making sure to always "out-do" the neighbors. The day after Thanksgiving my Grandma would have our tree up and decorated with all of her beautiful ornaments. It was all so magical back then that as an adult with my own home I try to recreate the memories.

The holidays also meant lots of cooking and baking, something I did not appreciate until I was older. Luckily I have been passed down the wonderful recipes of my Grandma Mable which I make every year to keep her spirit and traditions alive. To start of my month of Holiday recipes I am sharing with you my favorite recipe that I look forward to having every year. I love this recipe so much, that when I moved to Hawaii and couldnt make it home for the holidays I asked my Aunt Barbara to send it to me in a care package. The first recipe in my holiday collection is my Grandma Mable's Rum Cake. Moist yellow cake topped with crunchy pecan and soaked with a delicious rum glaze is sure to bring out the holiday spirit in you. The best part is that it is so easy to make! A wonderful dessert to bring to any holiday gathering. Enjoy!

Rum Cake

1 box instant vanilla pudding
1 box yellow cake mix
½ cup oil
½ cup water
1/3 cup rum (light or dark)
4 eggs
¼ cup chopped pecans

¼ cup water
1 cup sugar
¼ cup rum
½ cup butter (1 stick)

1. Preheat oven to 325. Sprinkle pecans in the bottom of a WELL greased bundt pan.
2. Mix together cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, water, oil and rum. Beat together with electric beaters until fully combined.
2. Pour batter into pan over the top of the pecans.
3. Bake at 325 or 1 hour. Make the glaze ten minutes before cake is done. On stovetop in small saucepan combine butter, sugar, water and rum. Heat until boiling.
4. Remove cake from oven, let cool 3 minutes, then pour glaze over top. Let stand in pan overnight or at least 6-8 hours. Flip pan gently to dump cake out. 
**Note: The alcohol is cooked out of the glaze when it boils so this recipe is suitable for all**

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

New England Clam Chowder

Looking back on my childhood I never fully realized how lucky I was to live with both my parents and grandparents. Yes having three stubborn Portuguese in one household at times could be chaotic but it also meant there were home-cooked meals every night of the week. Everyone in my family loved to cook!  Takeout food was nonexistent and only on special occasion would we all go out to dinner. Growing up my Grandpa Tony owned a few restaurants, one of which was called The Thirsty Whale. It was at this restaurant that his famous New England Clam Chowder came into existence. Originally from Massachusetts my grandpa understood the true meaning of New England Style; simple and basic, clam and potatoes, not too thick and not too thin, creamy and delicious. While there are many versions of this chowder that have celery, carrots, corn, etc. it is not authentic New England Clam Chowder like you would have if you went back east to his hometown. So in honor of the most wonderful and loving grandfather a girl could ask for, I am sharing with you his famous recipe, which I hope you will enjoy as much as I do. 
Fresh clams are great here in the Pacific Northwest

Mise en place

Just before making the roux

Grandpa Tony's                        New England Clam Chowder

Serves 6
4 slices bacon (thick) finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups finely chopped white onions
2 cloves garlic minced
2 teaspoons of special seasoning, recipe below
1 bay leaf
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
2- 8oz bottles of clam juice
1- 6.75oz can chopped clams, drained and juices reserved
1lb fresh clams, steamed and shucked
1- 10oz can baby clams, drained and juices reserved
3 cups half and half
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled, boiled and cubed
1 ½ teaspoon of white pepper

**You should have about 3 cups total of clam juice from the two bottles and the juices reserved from the cans. If you are using more fresh clams than canned, then have enough juice to make sure you have 3 cups. Also the total amount of clams is about 2 ½ cups**

Special Seasoning
½  teaspoon dried thyme
½  teaspoon garlic powder
½  teaspoon dried oregano
¼  teaspoon dill weed
¼  teaspoon tarragon
¼  teaspoon salt
Mix all spices together, if possible use a morter to crush.

1. Use a soup pot, put bacon and butter in on medium low heat to brown bacon about 8 minutes, do not let butter brown. Add in onions, garlic, bay leaf and seasonings, cook until softened about 6 more minutes
2. On medium heat whisk in flour, keep whisking and let the flour cook for about a minute. Then gradually whisk in the 3 cups of clam juice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat.
3. Whisk in the half and half, let simmer for 20 minutes (do not let boil).
4. Stir in potatoes, clams, and white pepper, heat until serving temperature. Careful not to let boil, it will toughen the clams. Serve in a bread bowl or with oyster crackers. This recipe can be prepared a day ahead. Just make sure to cool completely before refrigerating and then reheat the next day to serving temperature.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

With the weather here in Seattle deciding to skip fall and head striaght into winter our little garden has suffered the affects. The heirloom tomatoes we planted late this spring were well on their way to becoming big and juicy but once the cold front hit this past week we realized they were not going to make it much longer. My husband (who secretly is a great cook) decided to salvage the big green tomatoes and do what he does best, whip up something from nothing. So a few ingredients later out from our kitchen emerged these. When I bit into it is was crispy and juicy with a little bit of a kick, so delicious! I knew instantly this recipe had to be shared. The tricky part was getting him to write down an actual recipe as he just likes to throw things together. So I had him walk me back through it step by step and I was able to get something down in writing. Enjoy these little bites of golden crispy goodness (I know I did).

Tomatoes dredged in flour, eggs, then flour ready for the deep fryer
Fried for 2-3 minutes until golden brown and crispy


Fried Green Tomatoes

Serves 4


4 green tomatoes cut into ¼ inch rings
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Pinch of dried cilantro
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of milk
Ranch Dressing (for dipping sauce)

1. Preheat deep fryer oil to 350 degrees F.
2. Combine flour, breadcrumbs, and seasonings together and place in a shallow dish.
3. Beat together eggs and milk and place in another shallow dish.
4. Dredge tomatoes through flour mixture, then through the eggs, then back into the flour mixture until well coated. Repeat with the other slices.
5. Add a few pieces to the deep fryer at a time and cook for about 2-3 minutes.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

(Please excuse photo quality, shot from my iPad)

Fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves are changing, the air feels cool, boots return to the wardrobe, but most importantly pumpkin is back in season! Pumpkin is easily one of my most liked flavors. Just the smell brings so many warm memories to mind. So in the spirit of the launch of my new blog I thought I would start off with a favorite fall (and pumpkin) recipes: Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Dried Cherries and White Chocolate Chips. While the combination of ingredients may sound odd, these cookies are to die for! My husband who is not the biggest fan of anything pumpkin flavored (I married him anyways) absolutely loved these and was highly disappointed when I brought these to work and came home with no leftovers. A crowd pleaser and must try for the fall season!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from My Baking Addiction
Yields 48
2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup (2 sticks) butter; softened

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white chocolate chips

1 cup dried cherries; roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy.

3. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips and dried cherries.

4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.

5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
 TIP: Add in anything you would like in place of the white chocolate chips or dried cherries, I have used walnuts, almonds, raisons, dark chocolate, hazelnuts, pomegranates, etc

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